Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

by Michael Keeling

City of mosques and minarets
where tramlines criss-cross streets
and tourists stand bemused.

Where people-thronged bazaars
display the jewels of temptation
and spices clog the senses.

Where down the steps of surprise
Roman columns reflect on soft lit water
and ghostly carp swim past medusa heads.

Where wonderment stops breathing
and silence is enhanced
by the drip-drip-drip of unseen tears.

Where discernment is
a subterranean sea,
life blood of a besieged city.

Pause, reflect,
ascend to the light of reality
carrying the shock of amazement.

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